What does a wildly successful email campaign look like?   

On Tuesday at DMA’s Marketing Analytics Conference in Chicago, Charlie Swift (VP, Strategy & Marketing Operations) and Jim Murphy (Senior Director, Marketing Operations) from Hearst Magazines and Kathy Menis (Director, Product Marketing) from Experian showed some great examples.

In a session titled “Integrated Email Strategies,” panelists explained how to find the sweet spot for email engagement.

Engagement is really about managing an entire conversation, not just a single or even multiple emails. Panelists agreed that email campaigns ideally start with customers opting in, perhaps starting with interest in a newsletter. But how long do they stay engaged?  Are they still engaged after 30 days?  Have they opted out?  Have they completely stopped opening the email messages?

The Countdown Clock

Hearst presented a case study in which the company initiated an email outreach to their customer base featuring a countdown clock at the top of the email. In repeated emails, the clock counted down to show that time was running out for the offer.  As a result, rather than the traditional pattern of diminishing conversion rates in subsequent mailing, their response actually increased with each email.

Gaining a Holistic Viewpoint of the Consumer

Experian explained how they were able to gain game-changing insights by looking at local opens and clicks — from which they were able to learn more about the users’ interests, demographics, and attitudes —  and ultimately to derive a holistic picture of their users to better craft individual conversations. From there, they were able to focus on developing a win-back program to convert their locally inactive subscribers (those who did not open email but had not opted out) to globally active.

A Quick Reminder Boosts Conversions

MetLife’s case study detailed a direct mail campaign that required complex information to be sent to their mailing list via snail mail. Because they knew that a good portion of this mail would remain unopened, Hearst enhanced this campaign with an email mailing. Recipients received a quick email with their logo, letting them know a package would arrive the next day. A day after the package arrived, recipients were sent an email reminder to read and respond to the mailing. The result was an 89 percent lift in conversion.

Wildly successful indeed!

Overall, panelists agreed that integrating campaigns across platforms can truly optimize the email channel as a means to drive meaningful customer engagement and dramatically boost campaign success.

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DMA’s Marketing Analytics Conference runs through March 11.  Watch for more continuing coverage of all the action here on the DMA Advance Blog, and follow on Twitter #MAC15.